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Old 01-23-2024, 05:42 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Paul Bunyan (my first bus)

After a year of dreaming and four months of serious searching I am now the proud owner of this nearly rust free 2011 Chevy 3500 express cutaway bus. Equipped with a 5 window Collins body, flat floor and handicap lift. Has a 6.0L gasoline LS V8 engine with 186k miles. Paid $5000 and drove it home 7 hours from NJ to Maine with no issues. I think I got a good deal, thoughts? All feedback welcome.
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Old 01-24-2024, 10:42 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 210
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e 215hp Allison 2500
Rated Cap: 77
Wow great little bus, looks like a tall interior height too!
Good find!
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Old 01-24-2024, 12:04 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 875
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
Congrats! I love that feeling when you first buy the bus.

You can never tell how good a bus is from looking at it. Drive it, does it start well etc? Check. Next, get a mechanic to inspect it and tell you all that is wrong with it or could be improved or maintenanced.

I drove my bus home 200 miles from Virginia in the mountains to SC, and didn't realize I had a shot service brake chamber that didn't work at all. The bus stopped well so I didn't notice, but after tearing down the front end to do a king pin replacement I found out otherwise. You won't really know until you tear down into it.

Most VAN configurations which this Bus is on a Van Chassis, are pretty reliable mechanically. More so than the Tractor version of Buses, so you have that going for you. Just get someone you trust to tell you what's wrong by looking it over for you.
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Old 01-24-2024, 04:16 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Hey thx! Yes it has a 6’4”. It was a must as someone who is over 6’ tall
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Old 01-24-2024, 04:28 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Hey thanks for the feedback! Although it drove home flawlessly over 300 miles there certainly could still be issues or preventative maintenance that it could need. I plan on getting all the fluids changed/flushed and it will need a ME state inspection sticker. That should give me a good over health of the bus mechanically before I start the reno. Thanks again!!
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Old 01-25-2024, 06:22 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Location: Northeast
Posts: 55
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas Built Buses
Chassis: Ford E-450 cutaway
Engine: 6.0 Power Stroke diesel
Rated Cap: GVWR 14,050
Congratulations! I was from York, now down in Newburyport.

I envy your stock headroom....

Like you - I bought what I think is a solid bus for the miles and price. It passed MA inspection, but that's mostly lights, brakes, steering, rust, and emissions. I've been talking to my local Ford dealership and I'll have them go over it again.
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Old 01-25-2024, 11:40 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: New England
Posts: 145
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Michael Corbier
Chassis: GMC Savana 3500
Engine: 6.5 Diesel
Thank you for the good pics and descriptions. I own a similar bus, a few years older with a 6.5 td. Your bus so far looks like a real find at a good price.

Some issues that I had, besides battery charging problems were rust underneath the plywood floor and the galvanized corrugated metal; the step down into the cab area; decisions about the lift and its door. I have been through a couple of mechanics, and as soon as I say It is a diesel in a dog nose, they aren't available. A gas engine should be easier to access and fix. Here in Boston, finding off street parking is expensive, and building out is dependent on weather, space to work, and of course time.
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Old 01-25-2024, 03:51 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Hello fellow Mainer! I’m a Ford guy at heart but was worried about the reputation of the emissions era diesels. Hope you have nothing but good luck with yours!
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Old 01-25-2024, 04:09 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Hey fellow New Englander! I looked at a diesel that was nearly a twin to the one I bought but really wanted a bus with the handicap lift. Once the lift comes out having additional access to the under bed storage will be nice. Considering building a slide out, overlanding style kitchen to come out that side door. The bus is nearly rust free, but I won’t know for sure until I rip up the subfloor. Luckily, my boss is going to allow me to work on it on the weekends and keep it on site so I’ll have access to a warehouse to pull it inside to do my work, heated and out of the weather.
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Old 01-25-2024, 08:32 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Location: Northeast
Posts: 55
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas Built Buses
Chassis: Ford E-450 cutaway
Engine: 6.0 Power Stroke diesel
Rated Cap: GVWR 14,050
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdrew93 View Post
Hey fellow New Englander! I looked at a diesel that was nearly a twin to the one I bought but really wanted a bus with the handicap lift. Once the lift comes out having additional access to the under bed storage will be nice. Considering building a slide out, overlanding style kitchen to come out that side door. The bus is nearly rust free, but I won’t know for sure until I rip up the subfloor. Luckily, my boss is going to allow me to work on it on the weekends and keep it on site so I’ll have access to a warehouse to pull it inside to do my work, heated and out of the weather.
My 6.0 Powerstroke has only 89K miles, so I'm planning on some serious preventative maintenance. With a new oil cooler, EGR cooler, and especially a coolant filter, it should run for longer than I need it too with care.

I agree about the extra door - mine will access bulk storage, my slide out is in the back for bicycles.

I'm glad to hear you have indoor workspace. I started in the driveway, it was less than fabulous.
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Old 01-25-2024, 08:59 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaHare View Post
My 6.0 Powerstroke has only 89K miles, so I'm planning on some serious preventative maintenance. With a new oil cooler, EGR cooler, and especially a coolant filter, it should run for longer than I need it too with care.

I agree about the extra door - mine will access bulk storage, my slide out is in the back for bicycles.

I'm glad to hear you have indoor workspace. I started in the driveway, it was less than fabulous.
Low miles! Wow that’s nice. It’s my understanding the 6.0 powerstroke can be reliable as long as you don’t to a lot of power ads. Sounds like you’re taking good care of it.
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Old 01-27-2024, 12:27 AM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 28
Year: 2013
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy Vortec
Congrats on your bus! I have a very similar bus but a shuttle that I purchased last spring but with a Girardin body. Can't go wrong with the gas 6.0 Chevy Vortec either! I'm curious are your rear tires dually or single? Mine are single but many 5 windows are dually and I have some sway/suspension stuff I have to look into before I start my build as my bus at highway speeds doesn't feel very stable.

Anyhow can't wait to see your build progress!
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Old 01-27-2024, 08:45 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buyzen View Post
Congrats on your bus! I have a very similar bus but a shuttle that I purchased last spring but with a Girardin body. Can't go wrong with the gas 6.0 Chevy Vortec either! I'm curious are your rear tires dually or single? Mine are single but many 5 windows are dually and I have some sway/suspension stuff I have to look into before I start my build as my bus at highway speeds doesn't feel very stable.

Anyhow can't wait to see your build progress!
Thanks for the kind words. Yes mine is a dually. It felt very stable on the highway. I drove it home 300 miles and went as fast as 75mph.
What are the symptoms at high speed that make your bus feel unstable? Does the steer8ng wonder, does it vibrate or shake?
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Old 01-31-2024, 12:50 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 28
Year: 2013
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy Vortec
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdrew93 View Post
Thanks for the kind words. Yes mine is a dually. It felt very stable on the highway. I drove it home 300 miles and went as fast as 75mph.
What are the symptoms at high speed that make your bus feel unstable? Does the steer8ng wonder, does it vibrate or shake?
It doesn't vibrate or shake more so constant counter steering/correction that makes highway driving quite tiresome after a few hours. If I hit even a slight bump or dip in the road it throws the whole vehicle off. I understand large trucks, winds, etc. but it's more than that. I've been advised by many on here to look into my suspension stuff, wheel alignment, king pins, install sway bars, etc. Have yet to bring it in to look at as it's in hibernation but the time is coming soon. I just hope it can be resolved otherwise no sense pouring money into my build if the vehicle is that wobbly/difficult to drive.
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Old 01-31-2024, 02:11 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buyzen View Post
It doesn't vibrate or shake more so constant counter steering/correction that makes highway driving quite tiresome after a few hours. If I hit even a slight bump or dip in the road it throws the whole vehicle off. I understand large trucks, winds, etc. but it's more than that. I've been advised by many on here to look into my suspension stuff, wheel alignment, king pins, install sway bars, etc. Have yet to bring it in to look at as it's in hibernation but the time is coming soon. I just hope it can be resolved otherwise no sense pouring money into my build if the vehicle is that wobbly/difficult to drive.
With those symptoms is most likely tie rod ends, ball joints or something with the power steering rack. If you had a lot of body roll going around corners I'd be more concerned about suspension components or sway bars but that doesn't sound like what you're describing. Either way taking in to a reputable mechanic is the way to go here.
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Old 01-31-2024, 02:17 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Buyzen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 28
Year: 2013
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy Vortec
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdrew93 View Post
With those symptoms is most likely tie rod ends, ball joints or something with the power steering rack. If you had a lot of body roll going around corners I'd be more concerned about suspension components or sway bars but that doesn't sound like what you're describing. Either way taking in to a reputable mechanic is the way to go here.
Totally. I originally thought it was maybe because duallies are more stable with extra tires which is probably true to a point but this bus was a city transit bus in Vancouver and it's probably due for the stuff you mentioned. I appreciate your feedback! I'm going to start my own build thread soon! Looking forward to seeing yours unfold.
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Old 01-31-2024, 02:29 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2024
Location: Saco, Maine
Posts: 35
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevy Express 3500 cutaway
Engine: 6.0L LS
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buyzen View Post
Totally. I originally thought it was maybe because duallies are more stable with extra tires which is probably true to a point but this bus was a city transit bus in Vancouver and it's probably due for the stuff you mentioned. I appreciate your feedback! I'm going to start my own build thread soon! Looking forward to seeing yours unfold.
Cheers friendo. Hope it all works out for you and im excited to follow your progress.
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Old 01-31-2024, 02:48 PM   #18
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 875
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
The rear shocks used can make a difference in that type of Bus I've read.
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Old 01-31-2024, 05:57 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: East TN
Posts: 301
Year: 1999
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Nice bus! About the same I paid for my 97 Chevy four window bus with the 5.7 liter. Mine has 75K miles. How many miles on yours?
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Old 01-31-2024, 06:38 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Posts: 64
Year: 1995
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466NGD
Paul Bunyan

186K is a lot of miles on a gas 6.0. Good thing is there everywhere and parts are fairly cheep when compared to the bigger bus engines most of us run..
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